Keeping Anxiety in Check

Many of us living people deal with anxiety.  I definitely deal with anxiety all the time (a certain degree of it is normal and healthy after all). I wouldn't say I suffer from it or anything, but it's around. I find that my yoga and meditation practice helps me to keep it from getting out of hand. If you don't have a regular yoga practice you might wonder how that idea is supposed to work.

Well, meditation trains the mind to be more still, more quiet, and in general to focus not on what-ifs but on the moment as it truly is. Even if there's a lot going on outside of myself, I can take respite internally where there's always some peace keeping a level head.

What your parents think when you don't answer your phone.

The asana practice helps too, but it's not quite as obvious how it works. Even if I explain it... if you've never done it - it's all just hearsay. I'll do my best. When I'm in a pose I don't just find a boring middle point and hang out... and I don't power through into the next thing. No, I find a spot where there's a mild discomfort and I sit with it for a bit. It's not serious pain or anything I can't handle. It's comfortable enough that if I focus on my breath then I might not even notice. This is the edge where I sit. Right on the line between "this sucks" and "I love this pose". Now what does this have to do with anxiety and stress? Well if I'm practicing finding this subtle place where it's almost uncomfortable then I learn to see that this spot is not a big deal. I learn my personal boundaries where I can weather the storm and where it's a serious problem.

Later when I'm not on my mat I can start to see when I'm worrying about nothing (because how many of my worries actually happen?) and when it truly is a problem. If I can recognize the non-issues sooner than I waste a lot less time and energy being anxious and I can spend a lot more time enjoying life.

1 comment:

Lisa @ Just here. Just now. said...

In class, my yoga teacher told us to "counter resistance with breath." I think it's brilliant. Because if you can do that in class you can do it off the mat too. And if I can not panic when I face resistance, if I can stop and take a breath and just BE for a moment, before reacting - what a great thing that would be. Thanks for the great post! Namaste!